When founder Susan Padman-Reich (see below) and the original members of the Network of English-Speaking Women started the group in 1993, little did they know it would be such a success story!
The Network was founded on Susan’s idea of creating a forum for conversation and exchange in a supportive and relaxed atmosphere. In the beginning a small group of women met casually once a month, but word spread quickly, and the Network evenings are now attended by 25-30 women that include both short-term and longtime residents in the Freiburg area. There are over 40 members representing 10 nationalities and another 100 women who come on a more occasional basis. The wide range of backgrounds and life experience - personal, professional and cultural – are at the heart of these fun and informative evenings.
The meetings and activities of the group are organized by the Coordinating Team.
(Susan founded the Network in 1993 and served on the CT until her death in 1999.)
"I first met Susan in the early 1990s at the University of Freiburg where we were both pursuing a Master of Laws. Our professional paths crossed again a few years later when we became colleagues at the Max Planck Institute for Foreign and International Criminal Law (she working primarily on questions of Australian law, I concentrating on the law in the United States). It was during this time that we became friends and she recruited me to the Network.
She was quite a colleague. Not satisfied simply to do her job, she was elected to the workers’ council (Betriebsrat), gave tours of Freiburg to visiting international scholars, and in general encouraged the Institute adapt to the challenges posed by the information age (our Internet presence is currently one of our highest priorities). In pursuit of this last goal, Susan frequently managed to stun the somewhat old-fashioned criminal law gurus at the Max Planck Institute. Her suggestion, for example, that researchers be provided with a current list of useful web addresses from around the world (ministries of justice, legal experts, criminal justice institutions, and the like) prompted the shocked and indignant response “What about Datenschutz?!”
Juggling motherhood (2 children), wifehood (1 husband), family and friends (in Germany, Australia, and elsewhere), career (law, business), and other activities (including church and community responsibilities as well as the Network), Susan was a leader who was never in one place for a long time. Yet thanks to her drive, her warm-heartedness, and her extraordinary ability to communicate, she accomplished in her not quite 35 years more than many people achieve in 70. She touched the lives of those who knew her, and her example continues to inspire us."